Today’s consumer prices report was in line with expectations, allaying investor concerns that inflation would rise, forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates earlier than expected.
However, economists still believe that spring and the full reopening of the economy will cause prices to rise.
The most likely outcome is that inflation will slide back from a spring high and stay above 2% for longer than ever in the past decade, “wrote Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.
According to Daco, there are three reasons for the expected jump in prices: First, the relative increase becomes greater when compared with the previous year. Energy prices, which already accounted for most of the price hike in February, are likely to remain elevated. In addition, as the economy reopens, spending and investment will pick up. That’s a strong mix to help drive prices.
Another consideration is the way the inflation index is calculated, said Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management.
Shelter, driven primarily by urban rents, is skewed because “people despised urban living for suburbs,” Davis said.
“Right now, some real estate markets are booming and some are not, and that’s keeping the CPI low,” she said.